WHO WE ARE
the basics of baptism
What exactly is baptism?
The word "baptism" as it appears in the Bible means immersion (the process of submersion in water followed by emergence from the water).
Scholars agree that the baptism of the Bible is immersion. The following examples from the Bible substantiate that conclusion:
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, He came up out of the water." Matthew 3:16
"Then Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water." Acts 8:37-38
Note the descriptions of the baptisms - "down into the water," "came up out of the water."
What is the significance of baptism?
Baptism is the outward expression of the inward miracle. It is a visible, tangible, physical expression of what is happening inside spiritually. Our baptism is a picture to be seen by others revealing what is happening within us.
Two descriptive word pictures are given in the Bible to explain what happens at baptism.
1. "Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Romans 6:3 Colossians 2:1
We are identifying with Jesus' experience and demonstrating outwardly in our baptism that:
2. "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." - Galatians 3:27
We are demonstrating by our baptism that we are:
We put on Jesus' values and His priorities. We surrender to Jesus' way. We make Him Lord of our lives, as well as Savior. That means - "I'm no longer the boss of my life. Jesus is." Galatians 2:20
Why should I be baptized?
1. Because Jesus was baptized. He is our model, our example, in everything we think and do. Read Matthew 3:13-17.
Jesus came to John the Baptist at the River Jordan to be baptized. John, however, balked at doing such a thing, saying that Jesus should instead be baptizing him (John). "Jesus replied, 'Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all
righteousness.'" (v. 15)
Jesus said it is proper - it is the right thing to do. So John baptized Him. And immediately afterward, God expressed how pleased He was with Jesus' actions.
Jesus said baptism was the right thing to do, and then He followed through with action.
2. Because Jesus commanded it.
After His resurrection and before His ascension to heaven, Jesus left these final directions to His followers (which includes us):
"All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matthew 28:18-20 See also Mark 16:15-16.
3. Because baptism was an integral part of every conversion experience recorded in the book of Acts (which tells about the actions and beliefs of the first Christians and the first churches that formed after Jesus' ascension). Note the following examples of the apostles, their associates, and the first Christians baptized:
4. Because it is a way to witness to others of your belief in Christ and your resulting commitment. Though it may seem scary and humiliating to be involved in such a public act of surrender, it translates into a powerful witness to all who view it.